11.26.05

67 Year Old Makes A Mockery Of The AHL

Posted in Hockey at 3:45 pm by

Of course, The Golden Jet could be 100 years old there’s a team somewhere that would find a way to put him in uniform. From the Chicago Tribune’s Luis Arroyave.

He may be turning 67 in January, but former Blackhawks great Bobby Hull isn’t ready to hang up his skates just yet. The Hall of Famer will be in uniform for the Wolves when they face the Milwaukee Admirals on Dec. 17 at Allstate Arena. “I’m proud to be with the Wolves,” Hull said. “They’re a part of Chicago and I’m pleased to be back because it’s the greatest city in the world with the greatest sports fans in the world.” No word on what number the Hockey Hall of Famer will wear. His No. 9, which is one of five numbers retired by the Blackhawks, would have to be loaned (or purchased) from Kip Miller, a 5-foot-10-inch, 190-pound center from Lansing, Mich.

Toros Winning Streak Begins

Posted in Basketball at 3:20 pm by

Marcus Fizer (above) , the 4th overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft, scored 21 points in his NBDL debut last night, as the Austin Toros defeated the Arkansas RimRockers, 113-111. Former Georgia G Ezra Williams hit a 3 pointer at the buzzer to clinch the victory for the Toros in the franchise’s first contest.

The Toros begin the home portion of their inaugural campaign later today when they tip off against Fayetteville. CSTB will be covering this historic event, coaxed in no small part by the promise of free magnetic schedules, because after all, fixture lists and refrigerators go together like Marcus Camby and injuries. Austin coach Dennis Johnson has promised to sign autographs after the game, which strikes me as slightly presumptuous on his part. Of course, if Johnson refuses to do so, he ends up being mocked by Will Leitch, so you just can’t win.

Ronaldo Cleared Of Rape Charges

Posted in Football, The Law, Will Leitch Sucks at 1:18 pm by

Last month, Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo was questioned and arrested following rape allegations stemming from a hotel incident on October 2.

Will Leitch gleefully reported the arrest on October 19, adding “few details are known, including whether or not Ronaldo used his hands”. This was perhaps the best line Leitch has penned thus far (admittedly, that isn’t saying much) and one well worth remembering if he or any of his loved ones are ever the victims of a sexual assault.

Yesterday, Ronaldo was officially cleared of all charges.

Few details are known about why Leitch has failed to mention this, but given that he’s as ethically challenged as he is funny, perhaps I shouldn’t hold my breath.

McLaren : I’ve Got A Lot Of Lou In Me

Posted in Baseball at 12:42 pm by

From the LA Times’ Tim Brown.

The Dodgers will interview former Tampa Bay Devil Ray bench coach John McLaren for their vacant manager position Monday.

A finalist for the Devil Ray job that went to Angel bench coach Joe Maddon, McLaren has worked under Lou Piniella for the last 14 seasons, in Cincinnati, Seattle and Tampa Bay. Piniella, whose contract was bought out last month, declined to be interviewed by the Dodgers.


(the available pics of John McLaren are pretty bad, so you’ll have to settle for Malcolm McLaren, instead)

“I’ve got a lot of Lou Piniella instilled in me,” McLaren said Friday night.

The Dodgers continue to track free agents Brian Giles, Rafael Furcal and several pitchers, including Kevin Millwood and their own Jeff Weaver, and Florida Marlin center fielder Juan Pierre, and shop Milton Bradley.

Dodger executives are telling other organizations they have about $18 million to spend, assuming they trade Bradley or don’t make him an offer.

Thomas’ Memories Of Marbury

Posted in Basketball at 12:24 pm by

With the Nets visiting (and losing to) the Suns last night, the NY/NJ media had a chance to sitdown with CSTB’s 2nd favorite KT, former Knicks F Kurt Thomas (above). Thomas, never a fan of Stephon Marbury when the two were teammates in New York, was only too happy to comment on the contrasts between the 2nd Best Point Guard from Coney Island and Steve Nash. From the New York Daily News’ Ohm Youngmisuk.

Kurt Thomas misses his old point guard from New York. No, not that one.

“I enjoyed playing with Charlie Ward,” Thomas said yesterday morning when asked if he were surprised that Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury have had their difficulties.

When told that Tim Thomas recently had said how excited he was to be playing in Chicago with point guards who pass, the Suns’ forward smiled.

“Oh definitely, total agreement,” Thomas said. “Total agreement. Totally. Totally.”

Thomas was asked to describe the difference between playing with Marbury and Nash.

“I can’t even think of the words,” Thomas said.

Shooting at a 28% clip from the field, the Knicks are trailing the Sixers, 36-23 midway through the 2nd quarter at MSG. My favorite part of the box score is where it says Jerome James, “has not entered the game”. If someone were to change that notation to “will never enter the game”, I doubt there’d be much complaint.

“Not a lot of celebrities here in the early hours. Mike” bemoaned Walt Frazier, as the cameras scanned a less-than glittering row of courtside seats. “John McEnroe is here,” replied the hopeful Mike Breen, “but I’m getting so old I can’t even name some of the celebrities.”

“That’s not a good sign.” agreed Clyde.

In defense of both broadcasting giants, when even Matthew Modine has something better to do on a Saturday afternoon, the Knicks clearly fallen off the cultural radar.

Even without Tracy McGrady and Rafer Alston, are the Houston Rockets really so messed up that they’ve lost 6 in row and are stuck at 3-10? The evidence is hard to argue with, much as it seems like Jeff Van Gundy will grow even older waiting for Yao Ming to take over a game.

Marcus Camby has to be considered an early candidate for the Western Conference’s center in the All-Star Game. That said, such a proposition assumes Camby will be healthy by next February, hardly a sure thing.

(UPDATE : on a subsequent glance at celebrity row, Mike Breen pointed out that Rosario Dawson and Chazz Palminteri were in attendence. “Who was that girl, again?” asked Clyde. The Knicks erased a 16 point halftime deficit, survived a 40 point effort from Allan Iverson, and won, 105-102 on a Nate Robinson 3 pointer in OT, the diminutive guard (above) connecting with AI’s hand in his face. Rookie C Channing Frye continues to impress, scoring 21 points and gather 11 rebounds in his first start. Stephon Marbury scored 33, shooting 14 for 26 from the field)

Shipgel : Wagner-Mets Hardly A Lock

Posted in Baseball at 1:57 am by

Despite the Mets’ lucrative offer to free agent reliever Billy Wagner — supposedly the only one he’s received so far, the NY Times’ Ben Shipgel predicts that as many as 3 other clubs will have something to say about this.

The Phillies, because they rid themselves of $24 million on Thome’s contract, are in position to improve their initial $30 million offer, and there are two other teams expected to make a play for Wagner.

The Boston Red Sox, who have added the front-line starter Josh Beckett and the potential set-up man Guillermo Mota this week in a trade with Florida, would love to add Wagner, according to a person with knowledge of the interest who was granted anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize the talks. And the Braves, if they do not re-sign the free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, may elect not to pursue re-signing Kyle Farnsworth and use the saved money toward Wagner.

11.25.05

Toronto Signs Ryan

Posted in Baseball at 11:12 pm by

Maura Johnston says that the Daily News says that the Blue Jays say they’ve signed reliever B.J. Ryan (above) to a 5 year, $47 million deal.

I say that Billy Wagner’s price just went up.

Proper links to follow when I’m not standing in front of a record store.

(Update : the Daily News item is here. Writes Bill Madden,

The Toronto Blue Jays, with a payroll surplus of $25-30 million for next year, have made a bold statement that they intend to be big players in the AL East by signing lefty free agent reliever B.J. Ryan to a five-year $47 million contract, the Daily News has learned.

With the signing of the hard-throwing Ryan, the Blue Jays appear poised to now deal their previous closer, Miguel Batista. They have reportedly had discussions with the Texas Rangers about an exchange of Batista for outfielder Kevin Mench. The Blue Jays were also pursuing righty free agent starter A.J. Burnett and were said to have also offered him a five-year deal. It was unclear if the Ryan signing would now preclude them from continuing their efforts to land Burnett.

Busch Urinal Auctioned For $2173.82

Posted in Baseball at 7:51 pm by

I admit, my first reaction was, “wow, they’re really paying Will Leitch too much money.”.

As it turns out, someone else purchased the urinal. And as you all know, given what he’s been putting up with lately, Will isn’t being paid nearly enough.

For those of you unable to get your bids in, you might be able to fashion a screen saver out of this.

Boston To Keith : Foulke Off?

Posted in Baseball at 6:09 pm by

MLB Trade Rumors claims to have information pointing to the Red Sox shopping closer/BBQ enthusiast Keith Foulke. Supposedly, Boston would be willing to eat a large portion of Foulke’s salary if they were successful finding a taker.

My Boston source is telling me Foulke will get some attention as a setup man this offseason after the free agent market runs dry. Despite the surgeries, several teams feel that Foulke’s problems in 2005 were largely mechanical and can be fixed. The Sox are looking to shed Foulke, and may be willing to pay half of his $7.25MM 2006 salary. Foulke has a $7.5MM option for 2007 that could vest with a strong 2006 performance (53 games finished would do the trick). The recent of Guillermo Mota makes Foulke slightly more expendable.

Though I’d feel a lot better knowing for certain this source has never been a member of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, I’m willing to make the leap of faith if you are.

It would appear as though whatever little leverage Boston might have in dealing Manny Ramirez has decreased , as one of the two of teams the spacey LF would accept a trade to says they’re uninterested.

Brown To Robinson : Be Kind, Don’t Rewind (The Highlight Reel)

Posted in Basketball at 3:35 pm by


(Robinson in his Washington days, dealing with the Oregon chapter of his fan club)

Having learned little from the public dressing down of Stephon Marbury, Knicks coach Larry Brown has turned his attention to the erratic play of rookie Nate Robinson. From the NY Post’s Marc Berman.

Brown’s displeasure with Thomas’ imbalanced roster came into play again in Wednesday’s 108-95 loss in Charlotte. “We got to figure out what we could do with the [lack of] depth we have right now at the perimeter,” Brown said.

Brown is losing his patience with Robinson, who spelled Marbury Wednesday when Marbury got into foul trouble in the first quarter. Of his many miscues in trying to run the offense, Robinson stepped out of bounds as he brought the ball up court under pressure.

Brown said bluntly afterward, “He’s not a point guard. Right now he’s a highlight film.”

Robinson was a combo guard at fast-paced Washington. “We had more of a run-and-gun team like Phoenix,” Robinson said. “We tried to push guys to play at the pace we play at. Learning the point guard role is something new. In Washington anybody could bring it up any time. It’s different now, bringing it up, running every play.”

Brown’s frustration with Robinson began in the preseason opener. On his opening possession, Robinson tossed the ball off the backboard seeking to dunk it. Brown yanked him and told him if he ever did that again, he’ll never play again.

“I get tired of hearing ‘my fault, my bad,’ ” Brown said. “But you got to keep demanding it.”

Berman, along with Newsday’s Greg Logan, suggest that Brown covets Charlotte’s Brevin Knight.

Knight’s name has been mentioned in trade speculation along with Cleveland’s Eric Snow and Denver’s Earl Watson as possible Knicks targets. Snow played for Brown in Philadelphia and maintains regular contact with him. He’s a starter, but the Cavaliers also signed free agent Damon Jones last summer. Knight is in a similar situation as a vulnerable starter because the Bobcats drafted point guard Raymond Felton.

“Being from New Jersey, everybody from home is calling me and asking me about it,” said Knight, who is from Livingston, N.J., and attended Seton Hall Prep in East Orange. “They hear my name on the radio and see my name in the paper. I’m flattered if the Knicks think that much of me and that’s a consideration. But I like my position here and the things I see in the future for this organization.”

It’s one thing for Phil Jackson to say he’d rather work for his girlfriend’s dad and kiss up to Kobe than take Chuck Dolan’s money. But when members of the Charlotte Bobcats talk about their team having a future instead of lobbying for a trade to the Knicks, I’m afraid a new low has been reached.

Stupor Model Stumps For Superhoops

Posted in Football at 1:31 pm by

Perhaps it was her desire to curry favor with Mick Jones, Glen Matlock or the Bevis Frond. Or maybe it was an error in judgement, not unlike sleeping with David Copperfield. Most likely, this was a photo op gone horribly wrong. In any event, here’s Claudia Schiffer, visiting Loftus Road earlier this week.

Basketball Bigamy With Brendan Malone

Posted in Basketball at 1:16 pm by

With Thanksgiving in our rear view mirror, I think it is safe to say there are some individuals who have more to be thankful for than others. Men whom I’m sure you’ll agree, are living the American dream. And with all due respect to iconoclasts like Bill Simmons, Dov Charney and Derek Bell, the real role model for Dudes of Today oughta be Brendan Malone, who somehow managed to be a paid consultant to the Sonics and Cavaliers at the same time.

Little Love For NFL’s Ripken

Posted in Gridiron at 12:46 pm by

It isn’t that I didn’t care that Giants punter Jeff Feagles was on the brink of becoming the NFL’s Iron Man. It has more to do with staying up very late the other night thinking of ways to combine “Feagles”, “Beagles” and “Wrong Way Reagles” in a joke and not getting the job done.

And isn’t that I don’t respect Jeff Feagles. It’s just that he now reminds me of my own shortcomings…and I can’t handle it.

From Newsday’s Arthur Staples.

On Sunday in Seattle, Feagles will break a tie with defensive lineman Jim Marshall for the record for consecutive games played, though few people in the NFL and outside of it would equate Feagles’ new record of 283 consecutive games with Marshall’s.

Ray Guy (above), who on Tuesday was named among 25 NFL greats for 2006 Hall of Fame consideration, once again is vying to become the first punter enshrined in the Hall. The voters for that honor repeatedly have turned Guy away, forcing the player considered the first of the great true punters to justify why he merits consideration alongside offensive and defensive stars.

Feagles hasn’t missed a game since he broke in with the Patriots in 1988 as an unsigned free agent out of Miami. He’s been cut only once, by the Patriots after the 1990 season. For a punter with more than a few years’ NFL service, that is certainly a record, one that testifies to Feagles’ ability.

“Health is one thing, but you’re not going to play 18 years if you’re not that good,” said Feagles, who broke his arm in 2001 when he was with the Seahawks and suffered a concussion in the season opener a year ago on a hit by the Eagles’ Jeremiah Trotter.

“It is pretty remarkable that I’ve been able to do this up until almost age 40. [No. 283] is just a number, but it’s a pretty historic number.”

Feagles owns almost all the other NFL punting records now, too, having broken Sean Landeta’s record for number of punts in the season opener. But breaking Marshall’s record puts Feagles in the record books among the “regular” players, and that’s where things get dicey.

Marshall himself has been cordial in interviews, saying little to disparage Feagles. Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell got the negativity ball rolling two weeks ago, saying Feagles’ record deserves an asterisk because the punter is, at most, a 5-to-10-play participant. And Cottrell had been a Cardinals assistant coach when Feagles played for Arizona, too.

“Hey, every play is critical, and coaches should know that,” said Guy, who runs a lumber company in his hometown of Thompson, Ga. “What [Feagles] has done is great, 18 years, five different teams. You know he’s doing it right, because you don’t get many chances to mess up as a punter.”

Hurting The Cause Of Wrestling Journalists Everywhere

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 12:26 pm by

The WWE’s release of a Bret Hart triple DVD might be another opportunity to reflect on the Hitman’s role in the Monday Night Wars, along with his dramatic defection from the then-WWF and the prior “just ring the damn bell” screw-job defeat to Shawn Michaels in Montreal, perhaps the most controversial single incident in the sport’s recent history.

Certainly, all of the above have been reported on and debated to death over the years, but generally not in mainstream places like the New York Daily News. At the very least, even if you’re presuming the readers are well versed in the details surrounding Hart’s volatile relationship with Vince McMahon, a natural question for the former might be “what are your thoughts surrounding the WWE’s new drug testing policy?”.

The Slammer (above), however, isn’t just your average reporter.

This great stocking stuffer (don’t forget to get one for yourself) gives young and old alike the chance to remember Bret as he was, is and will be!

O’Hara : Mariucci’s Toast

Posted in Gridiron at 12:09 pm by

Perhaps the Lions oughta consider asking the NFL’s schedule makers to put their traditional Thanksgiving game on hold for a few years or decades. For the tens of thousands of poor saps that pack Ford Field for this annual event, could there be any worse way to start a day that is already filled with recriminations, tension and disappointment?

The Mariucci family might agree with my assesment.

No Justice : Morita Dies, Macchio Lives

Posted in Cinema, The World Of Entertainment at 11:24 am by

Whether mentoring a young Ron Howard in “Happy Days”, or doing the same for the not-quite-yet pretending to be a guy Hillary Swank in “The Next Karate Kid”, Pat Morita was a true acting giant amongst people who weren’t so gigantic. Kevin T. shares the news of Mortia’s passing, and in long-standing CSTB tradition, we’re gonna ring the bell ten times.

Mex In The Mix As Mets’ Microphone Fiend

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 1:19 am by

The NY Post’s Andrew Marchand predicts that Keith Hernandez will soon assume the role previously held on Mets telecasts….by Keith Hernandez.

Keith Hernandez is moving closer to becoming the Mets’ lead analyst on SportsNet New York, according to sources.

If Hernandez signs on, he is expected to work 100 to 125 games with new Met TV play-by-player Gary Cohen.

On Tuesday, Hernandez’ agent met with SNY’s executive producer, Curt Gowdy Jr. Barring a tangled negotiation, look for Hernandez to be announced next month as the main analyst.

Mota Added To Beckett/Lowell Haul

Posted in Baseball at 1:02 am by

The next time Mike Piazza asks “Where’s Mota?”, you can tell him to get off at Kenmore Square. From the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman.

The list of names involved in the blockbuster deal between the Red Sox and Marlins grew longer before all was said and done, but the biggest and most important name of them all, Josh Beckett, officially switched sides and became a Red Sox last night.

The deal was complicated from the Red Sox™ point of view by Beckett™s right shoulder. But any issues were finally resolved a couple of hours before midnight, with the deal expanding from five to seven players.

In addition to Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell, the Red Sox received 32-year-old right-hander Guillermo Mota (above, left), an effective reliever with a career batting average against of .231, along with a 3.61 ERA and 375 strikeouts in 464 innings since 1999.

The Red Sox still are sending along the original three prospects “ shortstop Hanley Ramirez, right-handers Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado “ and added minor league pitcher Harvey Garcia, a righty.

On Wednesday, it was clear that the Red Sox had enough concerns that they were asking the Marlins to make the deal more palatable on their own end. One way to accomplish that was to have the Red Sox not accept all of Lowell™s $18 million remaining salary for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The other way was to rework the names in the deal.

The Marlins, in serious cost-slashing mode, apparently wanted no part of paying any portion of salaries of players not on their roster. So, in order to sweeten the deal to the Red Sox™ liking, they added Mota.

11.24.05

Getting A Head Start On The Best Obituaries

Posted in Football at 8:58 pm by

As the George Best Deathwatch continues —with the Manchester United / Northern Ireland striker, drinking/fucking legend said to be on death’s doorthe Telegraph’s Jim White writes “All Hail The King Of Cool”

Impossibly skilful, improbably stylish, cooler than a fridge in the Arctic, Best put Manchester on the map. He made it swing. For a time in the Sixties, George Best was so hot the whole of Manchester sizzled in his wake. John Peel claimed that he only got his first break in radio in the United States because the station controller assumed that, as he hailed from near Liverpool, he must know the Beatles. Likewise, for an entire generation of Mancunians, Best was the passport to cool.

It wasn’t just on the football pitch that he lorded it. Everything he did set the pace. He owned a boutique in Market Street called Rogue. He built himself the ultimate bachelor pad in the suburb of Bramhall, and was shown on television pushing buttons that made the telly come up from the floorboards and, naturally, unfolded a bed down from a wall. Plus he had his nightclub, Slack Alice.

At the weekends, Best used to patrol the queue outside the club, checking out the top lookers and inviting them inside. It was, those who saw it recall, an astonishing parade of the North-West’s most beautiful women (including Germaine Greer, then working at Granada Television). Dave Haslam, in his book about the city’s cultural development Manchester England, recalls meeting a chap who was dating, by common consent, the best-looking girl in town. He took her along to Slack Alice one night, was invited inside by Best, and the three of them spent the evening chatting over the champagne. At the end of the night, he left alone; she stayed on with the host. Haslam asked the spurned boyfriend if he had minded being cuckolded so publicly. Not at all, came back the reply, it was Bestie; it was an honour.

Jalen Rose : Forget The Motor City

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 8:10 pm by

With blogging chops that rank somewhere between those of Will Leitch and Flea, the Raptors’ Jalen Rose takes a tip from the Maloof Brothers and lowers the boom on Motown. From the Toronto Star.

Most pro athletes write it like they speak it, typing at 110 per cent. Rose keeps a not-so-cliché diary at BET.com, wherein he recently bestowed a timeless observation on Detroit nightlife: “Ain’t nothing cracking at two in the morning,” wrote Rose, “because ain’t nothing open but hospitals, jails and legs.”

America’s Most Whipped Man To Quit, Patterson Continues To Sit

Posted in Basketball at 7:35 pm by

In a development that should seriously limit CSTB’s future traffic (if number of incoming searches for Jackie Christie is accurate), the Mavericks’ perpetually henpecked Doug Christie is expected to retire.

From the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Art Garcia.

The Mavericks explained the signing of Doug Christie (above, right) as low risk with the potential for a high reward.

Well, so much for the reward. Christie’s career with the Mavs has all but come to an end after playing in seven games because of lingering ankle problems.

The team doesn’t expect him back, and his retirement could be forthcoming. The Mavs are awaiting word from Christie’s agent on the veteran guard’s plans.

The Trail Blazers were so fed up with Ruben Patterson’s supposedly shitty attitude following last Sunday’s loss to the Knicks, the enigmatic forward was sent home in the middle of the road trip. Since then, Portland has suspended Patterson for a further two games, and much like Terrell Owens, he’s wondering if the team shouldn’t just cut him loose.

Ruben Patterson couldn’t believe what he was hearing Wednesday: After being told Monday to leave the Trail Blazers, the team now said it was going to suspend him for two games.

“For what?” an incredulous Patterson said Wednesday from his home in Columbus, Ohio. “They are the ones who told me to go home, so I went home. They are the ones who put me on the inactive list. I don’t know what else to do. I mean, since they ain’t going to play me, why don’t they just trade me?”

Patterson, who stands to lose $115,512 in salary, said he will file an appeal with the players association. He said Sunday’s incident is being blown out of proportion.

“I didn’t cuss Nate (McMillan) out like everybody thinks,” Patterson said. “I did go at it with Nate, and I used some swear words, but I didn’t cuss him out.”

Patterson said he cussed out assistant coach Monty Williams, who interjected during Patterson’s rant at McMillan.

“But me and Monty cleared it up afterward, we’re cool.”

John Nash said past disciplinary actions taken by the Blazers were used in determining the suspension, which mirrors the penalty levied upon Darius Miles last season for cursing coach Maurice Cheeks and the one given Bonzi Wells for a 2003 altercation with Cheeks.

“That makes me even more mad,” Patterson said. “This is the same thing that happened to Darius, and they didn’t even take no money from Darius — zero, none, zero.”

All of this Portland talks reminds me that I neglected to watch the Purina National Dog Show earlier today. How did Qyntel Woods’ entry fare?

Another Victory For The Black Widow

Posted in Food at 2:40 pm by

Unlike certain interweb sluts who don’t know if they’re into curling or NASCAR or just whatever it takes to boost the hit count, CSTB’s long admiration for the sport of Competitive Eating, and the exploits of Sonya Thomas in particular, are a matter of public record.

Thomas claimed yet another chowing-down crown yesterday when she defeated Eric “Badlands” Booker (voice behind the megasmash CD ‘Hungry & Focused’) and other elite eaters, consuming 4 pounds and 3.1 ounces of turkey at NYC’s Artie’s Deli.

So Many Terrible Ways To Name A Band

Posted in Football, Rock Und Roll at 2:21 pm by

Asked by a reader for less famous examples (ie. other than St. Entienne or the Kaiser Chiefs) of bands with football-inspired names, the Guardian’s James Dart has a couple of good ones.

There’s Sham 69, who were named after a piece of graffiti on a wall celebrating Walton & Hersham’s successful 1969 season. Part of the wall having disappeared, the band adopted what was left.

Also doing the rounds as a band name is one Mr Cruyff, not only the inspiration for Dutch outfit Johan, but also, according to Andrew Gardner, a local band in the northern Japanese city of Yamagata: The Cruyff Turn. Posters for the Leeds festival in 2001 had a ‘Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’ on the bottom of the bill, though whether or not this was an in-joke by promoters we’re not sure.

I’m saddened to admit that Hull’s Salako came up in conversation the other day. But at least it was a short conversation.

Indefensible : Minor League Mascot/Turf War In Connecticut

Posted in Baseball at 1:57 pm by

Sidearm Delivery has the details on the sordid saga of the former Norwich Navigators’ shameful pissing match with the former New Britan Red Sox.

Justifying The Delgado Deal – On Both Sides

Posted in Baseball at 1:47 pm by

I didn’t have the pleasure of hearing WFAN yesterday, so I can’t say what the reaction was to the Mets’ acquisition of Carlos Delgado amongst the few New Yorkers who don’t write Mets blogs. The New York Times’ Ben Shipgel says that Delgado’s views on the Iraq war might become an issue, though Gary Cohen doesn’t seem too worried.

“The climate is different than a few years ago,” Cohen said in a telephone interview. “As long as he produces, his political stances are not going to be any more important than Al Leiter’s political stances . Looking at opinion polls on the issues he was protesting, a lot of people are coming around to his thinking,”

Cohen criticized Delgado last season for not chasing down a ground ball hit by Jacobs, but he said yesterday that the criticism had not been aimed only at Delgado. He said he pointed out everyone who was not hustling.

“Jacobs might turn out to be Carlos Delgado,” Cohen said. “Petit is a guy with a lot of minor league success. You are taking two guys who could be stars and trading them for one of the best hitters, who is an incredibly good teammate, a man of tremendous conviction and intelligence, and the Marlins are throwing in $7 million to boot.”

Over at Baseball Prospectus, Nate Silver stakes out the position that the Marlins’ talent purge was justifiable, if not inevitable.

It is easy to accuse the Marlins of ulterior motives, particularly given an owner with the shady history of Jeff Loria. But the fact of the matter is that selling makes sense for the Marlins, and it makes sense in this market. It especially makes sense if they can get some true blue-chip prospects in return, but even without that, it makes sense from a profit-and-loss standpoint, and it does so by a fairly wide margin.

There’s going to be an effort by the mainstream media to ostracize the Marlins. Ostracization, anthropologically speaking, is an effort to apply social disincentives to dissuade undesirable behavior when the economic incentives aren’t sufficient. And the economic incentives in baseball today don’t discourage the Marlins’ behavior; they incentivize it.

Baseball can no longer count on its owners to sacrifice profit for the sake of good citizenship. There is too much money at stake, and there are too many teams run as real, corporate businesses, rather than family operations. If baseball is serious about discouraging this sort of behavior, it needs to adopt an economically sensible revenue sharing plan, or educate its teams about the risks associated with taking on bloated long-term contracts like the one belonging to Carlos Delgado. Otherwise, the Marlins’ fire sale could be the first of many to come.